Airplane Accident lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm affirm that two passengers on board an Asian Airlines jet have died after the plane crashed while landing in San Francisco on Saturday, July 6, 2013. The pilot was guiding a Boeing 777 for the first time, and crashed after failing to abort a landing when he came in too slowly.
The plane was traveling from Seoul, South Korea, and was carrying about 307 passengers at the time of the crash. Fortunately, despite immense damage to the aircraft, most of the passengers were able to walk away from the wreckage on their own. The two killed, Ye Mengyuan and Wang Linjia, were 16-year-old students from China’s eastern Zhejiang province.
It is yet unclear whether the pilot’s inexperience with the Boeing 777 played a significant role in the crash, as officials investigate the San Francisco International Airport and the aircraft’s equipment to see if anything malfunctioned.
Firefighters rushed to the crash to douse the wreckage as passengers scrambled to exit the plane by inflated escape chutes. The aircraft hit the ground first with its tail and spun down the runway, causing its tail, landing gear and one of its engines to rip off. Large pieces of its body were burned away, leaving 182 injured, at least five in critical condition.
The last airline crash in the United States took place in 2009, involving Colgan Air Flight 3407, which crashed at Buffalo International Airport, killing 50 people.
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The 777 has a two-pilot cockpit, however, on an international flight from Asia to the United States, there is usually at least one ‘relief pilot’ on board so no one has to work straight through. This is probably what led to the lesser experienced pilot being behind the controls during the landing. The South Korean transport ministry affirmed that there were four crew members assigned to the cockpit. The one flying the plane during landing, Lee Gang-guk, had only 43 hours of experience flying 777s, and was still getting used to the aircraft.
South Korean air carriers have faced safety difficulties in the past; in 2001, the Federal Aviation Administration froze service from South Korea to the United States because of inadequate government safety regulation. In December 1999, a Korean Air Lines 747 crashed near London, after which Delta Air lines cancelled its code-share agreement until Korean improved its standards.
Asiana Airlines was established in 1988 and is based out of South Korea. It travels to NYC, LA, Chicago, Seattle and San Francisco, as well as cities in Europe, Russia, China, and Southeast Asia. In a recently released statement the airline said it would cooperate with related authorities to determine the number of injured and the cause of the crash.
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Among those on the plane included more than 140 Chinese, 77 South Korean, 61 American, and 3 Canadians. About 30 of the passengers were between the ages of two and 12, and one was an infant. A crew of 16 was also on board at the time of the crash. The head of the National Transportation Safety Board stated that the slow speed of the plane in its final approach triggered an alert that it could stall, causing efforts to abort the landing, however, the plane crashed just one second after this attempt.
Senior officials at the San Francisco Fire Department stated that one of the girls killed may have been struck by an emergency vehicle on the runway. An autopsy will be completed by Monday to determine whether she died from injuries sustained from the plane crash or a secondary incident.
Airplane accident attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm understand that lawsuits resulting from plane crashes involve complex state, federal and international aviation laws, and that victims of this San Francisco Asiana crash may be confused as to what their rights are.
Often “vulture firms”, or firms that prey on families who have lost loved ones in airplane accidents, seek out these families to represent them for a quick and cheap settlement. Federal laws have been passed to try to stop this practice, but families may still be victimized. Contacting a lawyer who has extensive experience in handling these cases can provide you with the answers and help you need.